Updated: April 24, 2019
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Ocean Day In Japan: Origins And Things To Do!

Ocean day, also known as Sea Day, Marine Day or "Umi no Hi" (海の日), is a Japanese national holiday in July. Find out where the origin comes from, it's cultural significance - or lack of, actually! - and special events surrounding Ocean Day, including the Marine Day Odaiba Lantern Festival!

Jul 15, 2019(Mon)
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Ocean Day

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Ocean Day in Japan is the only national holiday in July in Japan. It is held on the third Monday of that month.

It was first established as a national holiday in 1996, and until 2003, the holiday was fixed on July 20th. It has been held on the third Monday of the month since 2003 as part of the government's "Happy Monday" reform under which some fix-dated national holidays were moved to Monday to allow people to have a couple of long weekends throughout the year.

Why Is Ocean Day Celebrated

Most people in Japan haven't got a clue why Ocean Day is celebrated, as it doesn't have a long cultural tradition such as for instance the osho-gatsu お正月 (new years celebration holidays).

That being said, as said before, it is the only national holiday in July and it happens to occur right after the rainy season, so many people seize the long weekend that it is part of to enjoy some summer-time activities.

Officially speaking, it is the day that commemorates the return of the Meiji Emperor from the sea aboard a steamship called the Meiji Maru. The imperial voyage had gone as far as the Tohoku Region of Japan (located in the northeast of the country, below Hokkaido).

"express gratitude for the blessings of the sea and wish prosperity for the oceanic country of Japan."

「海の恩恵に感謝するとともに、海洋国日本の繁栄を願う」

Source:http://www.mlit.go.jp/
The law that enacted the day of the Ocean states that the purpose of the day is to "express gratitude for the blessings of the sea and wish prosperity for the oceanic country of Japan." The quote is taken from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.

What To Do On Ocean Day

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Quite fittingly, many people go to the beach during the Ocean Day long weekend. Generally, in the Tokyo area, the weather is hot and the humidity of the rainy season has finally receded, so it does make it a good time of year to go to the beach.

If you are in Tokyo area, you might want to check out these places in Kanagawa Prefecture for some good beach spots!

Special Events - "Umi Festivals" 海フェスタ

To highlight the national holiday, there are numerous Umi Festivals or Marine Day Festivals, held throughout the country. Notable ones are in Kobe and Fukuoka (both are port cities) that include special events such as the "Marine Day Miss Japan Contest". The winner's role is to promote marine safety.
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In Tokyo, there is the Marine Day lantern festival held in Odaiba. A beautiful display of lantern is held on the beach from which you can see the rainbow bridge and lit yakatabune-type boats in the bay. The nearest station is Tokyo Teleport. Of course, it's held on Marine Day.
If you go to Odaiba, you might want to check out these links!

Lastly...

Celebrating Marine Day in Japan is a way of sorts to kick off the summer season. Just enjoy the nice weather, and if you have the chance, go to some beautiful beaches in Japan or enjoy special Marine Day events!
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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